A method titled Play Management is being developed for casinos to give players more control over their spending habits, a method that was based on helping gamblers control losses. Plainridge Park Casino has yet to implement this method and has come under fire in the process. The State Gaming Commission of Massachusetts has now responded to the criticism, stating that officials want to ensure the system is operating correctly before it is installed.
With Play Management, players would have the option to set a budget during slot game play based on how much they are willing to lose. During play, the slot machine would then alert the player with a warning if the set limit is being approached or exceeded. This does not stop the player from gambling, only gives them the knowledge that they have reached their set amount.
Plainridge first opened in late June and the system is still currently being developed. Stephen Crosby, the Chairman of the Gaming Commission, conducted media interviews and put out a stamen on the subject, in response to the criticism. According to Crosby, the system is being developed for the commission not for the Plainridge Park venue.
Implications were made that Plainridge was delaying the implementation of the tracking system to be able to make more money, which Crosby says is untrue. Crosby stated that Plainridge has been nothing but cooperative and has nothing to do with the delays in the integration of the system. Basically, the project has been complicated as a tracking option of this magnitude has never been done before in the US.
The delay was caused by the commission wanting to ensure that the system is done right instead of quickly. According to Crosby, Plainridge Park will be the first casino to have such a program in the United States and one of only a few in the world.
Harvard Medical School was asked by the commission to create a study to determine if the system will end up helping gamblers. The system is believed to be functional by April. In the meantime, Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling, Krystle Kelly, stated that the council is a little disappointed in the delay but not concerned. As long as the system is ready for installation in the next few months, the council feels there is no cause for alarm.
It is important for the system to be created with the ease of use as many elderly patrons enjoy the slot games. If the system is too hard for them to use, there is no point in even integrating the option into the slot machines. Harvard is also helping the commission to choose the best wording options for the instructions to ensure gamblers will be willing to participate.